By B. D. Wahlberg
Previously! Our Super Seniors set to squashing superdelegates, saving schoolwork for some Saturday. Papers and projects pile up. Idleness is inviting, and even protesting problematic presenters proves petty. And so, from far fathoms of the Cathedral of Learning, starts a swelling, a tendril trembling through the tunnels! BLARRR BLARRR BLARRR the Super Senior Siren sounds through the Secret Super Senior (and Señiorita) Solitude Sanctum! “Ughhhh five more minutes,” moans The Power Nap, roused from a pleasant siesta. “Future Shock, you answer it. I’m almost to the boss level,” assigns Downward Spiral, focused on beating her personal best time. “Like hell, lol. Easy Mac isn’t goin’ to make itself, ya know. Miss’d Graduation, can you get it?” BLARRR BLARRR BLARRR
“Swear I got it last time. The time it turned out to be a #ProjectPawPrint fundrainer.” “But you’re closest!” BLARR BLAR-WA!WHAMPH Bolt upright and together, “That can’t be good.” Downward tosses her controller and makes a dash for the wall of monitors, slamming the multitude of keys to reveal a number of slimy, pulsating arms breaking their way through the fountain in front of the Cathedral, slamming down on the hedges. “…Maybe it’ll go away if we just ignore it? I’m sure it doesn’t want to wreak any havoc,” yawned Power Nap. Suddenly, the elevator doors to the secret entrance under the Union Panther statue ding! open, revealing…! An older, gray haired lady with warm blue eyes. She pulls her small black backpack on wheels across to the monitors, where she stands, slowly shaking her head. “You pitiful, young fools. How could the Super Senior Justice League forget about its oldest, most dangerous foe?” Turning gravely, the tentacles now knocking students around, she intones, “Señor Itis.”
The BLARRRs become a DUN DUN DUNNN! Future Shock turns off the alarm. “Who’s Señor Itis? How’d you get down here? Who are you?” The lady flashes a mature smile, “They call me Triple L, stands for Life Long Learner, but you can call me Myra. Señor Itis and I were the original Super Seniors. Of course, he went by The Teacher’s Pet back then, could turn into any animal. Alas, TP became obsessed with power, pranking even the most minor of college crooks. Like professors who grade on weird curves. Rather than graduate, he took up residence beneath the campus. I followed suit above, passing the crime fighting to new 5th and 6th years, waiting, watching for the day he’d emerge again. Usually he’s just scattering dead cockroaches, but something’s got Señor Itis inflamed.” Still mulling over this exposition, they watched the tentacles turn to smashing the patio above the fountain, and through the rubble emerges a large man’s torso and mustachioed head. His gooey limbs wipe dirt from his ruffled white shirt and black vest, “Buenos días, Super Seniors! Come out of your cave and take your finals!! JA JA JAA!”
The Super Seniors finally spring into action! Downward Spiral slips into her skinniest ripped jeans. Future Shock spikes his hair and puts in slightly larger gauges. A spark of light flashes across Miss’d Graduation most artistic blowout comb. The Power Nap…summons up power from that nap. Together, they step into the elevator, a muzak version of Girl from Ipanema plays, and the doors reopen to reveal the chaos across Bigelow Blvd. One of those split screen stare-downs with speed lines, and MG and DS start the first attack! MG does that whole, tap on the shoulder, uh-oh now I’m over here thing, getting Señor Itis to spin his head around a few times! DS gets the attention of a few tentacles that get all tangled up trying to catch her! As they step back and pant, Señor Itis laughs again, his neck spinning straight and his appendages untangling, beginning to swell more! “Muchas gracias! Keep fighting, si, si!” Future Shock takes his opportunity to freeze time, figure out where Pittsburgh University’s woodshop is, get a really big saw, cut off each protrusion, and stand back to avoid whatever gushes out. Time unfreeze! Out gushes more appendages and the loose ones continue to flop after DS and MG! Power Nap summons up all of that super-charged- ness that only sticks around for 20-25 minutes after a snooze and releases a powerful burst at Señor Itis. But rather than collapse from the shock, the beast gobbles it all down, reaching a gargantuan size! The Super Seniors regroup. “Uhhh! Nothing’s workin’!” wails Future Shock. “He’s just getting more powerful with every attack!” notes Downward. “And I for one am really bothered by the racial and cultural politics of appropriating Spanish/Mexican culture for a pun-named villain,” expresses Gradu. “Si! Have a safe-space discourse about it why don’t you!” laughs Señor Itis again, expanding further. Then, Power Nap gets it. “Wait! It’s not just a pun! It’s the source of his power!” The squad looks blankly. “Senioritis! Don’t you get it, team? He’s growing because we’re focusing on him instead of our work! We have to graduate. We have to move on and leave the school in the capable hands of other students who didn’t make it out of here in the suggested four years!” Glancing around his friends and back at the monster, Future Shock is the first to own up, “But. Well. That’s really scary.” “Of course it is! But we’ve faced Crippling Debt, a Werepanther, nasty landlords, the Market Maggot, the Nth Degree, superdelgates even! And we never backed down. This fight isn’t against Señor Itis! It’s against ourselves! Our own will to let go, move on, and find out what’s on the other side of that cap and gown. And you know what?” Here, PN turns luscious bed head to the giant. “If I have to stay here, one more minute in this institution of higher learning, chances are I’m going to snap.” Señor Itis lets out a wail, the loose tentacles shrinking to slugs. DS: “You’re right! Back to the SSS(S)SS! Lets. Do. Some. Homework.” Hands in, camera spin, and Montage! Triple L provides water, mini- sandwiches, and her years of learning as the Super Seniors complete term papers and tap pencils. All the while, the monitors depict the ever dwindling enemy, moaning and making calls for their attention, to procrastinate even one more moment. Finally! Only a sad, dripping mustache remains and pops back into the fountain hole, as a few brave students foreshadowingly examine the remaining, and obviously superpower inducing, slime. Myra smiles approvingly, “Well, I think I have some things to discuss with an old friend, and it looks like you’ve got some campus repair of which to take care. Make sure to get those $234,000 pieces of paper!” As the senior Super Senior takes her leave, the crew take a long look at one another. Downward Spiral opens up the rabbit hole, “So…I guess this is the end? Will we, like, ever see each other again? Will we keep our powers? How was Major Changer so ready for this last year? I-I- I’m really going to miss you all.” And, without another word, the Super Seniors share a sincere, super embrace. Will the Super Seniors keep in touch after college? Does anyone? Will the new class of Super Seniors share any of the same solidarity of our squad? Or tussle through a term of trials that turns out a torturous villain? Did Future Shock ever eat that Easy Mac? All these questions, but only one succinct: Senior-nara!